24/7 CONFIDENTIAL HOTLINE 1.800.248.1688

LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM

Our purpose is to help officers and their family members maintain good mental, physical and emotional health. Peer Support Officers/EAP reps are not counselors, but receive training to be impartial, caring listeners.

The Value of Peer Support Following a Critical Incident

An effective way for officers to deal with stress is through the support of other officers. Generally, police officers are hesitant to use outside counseling services following a traumatic event (Donnelly, Valentine, & Oehme, 2015). However, they are more likely to communicate with their peers about the incident. Therefore, it is important for agencies to have strong, formal peer-support programs in place.

During peer-support sessions, officers should be encouraged to discuss their role in the incident. In return, peer support officers should give supportive feedback that provides reassurances to the officer about their decisions. In addition to helping an officer process an event, peer communication is also an opportunity for a trained peer-support officer to identify whether an officer is struggling in a way that may require further intervention, either through time off or professional counseling.

Having access to peer support is an essential stress management strategy that gives officers the opportunity to reflect upon the incident and share their emotions with other officers who have experienced similar trauma. Such measures can both reduce the effect of strain over time as well as promote resiliency in the lives of officers.

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Download the Peer Support Guidelines

Info Box

A peer support person (PSP), sworn or civilian, is a specifically trained colleague, not a counselor or therapist. A peer support program can augment outreach programs such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), in-house treatment programs, and out-of-agency psychological services and resources, but not replace them. A peer support person is trained to provide both day-to-day emotional support for department employees as well as to participate in a department’s comprehensive response to critical incidents. PSPs are trained to recognize and refer cases that require professional intervention or are beyond their scope of training to a licensed mental health professional.

-  The International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Why Peer Support?

Peer Support Officers/EAP reps understand Police culture and how built-up stress and trauma impacts us

EAP sessions for an officer or family member are offered with a licensed mental health professional who: Has first-hand experience working with police and first responders and/or possess an understanding of the personality, the work culture and the environment within the law enforcement community

Services can be related to: Personal or work-related stress, marital or family discord, substance use disorders, symptoms of depression or anxiety, referrals for financial or legal issues, any concern that can impact YOU on the job or at home.

The first three (3) EAP sessions are free. ( Additional sessions are available. Subject to your insurance copay)

Confidentiality is Essential! No notes are taken when you speak with a Peer Support Officer/EAP rep. Confidentiality of a Peer Support Officer is covered by law - HB 13. This is only breached if there is a danger to self or others.

We are all brothers and sisters.

If you see someone struggling after a bad call or with a personal issue, encourage them to contact a Peer Support Officer, the ACCESS EAP office or the 24-hour hotline at 800-248-1688.